Former Division I college athlete and current Kennyhertz Perry attorney Mit Winter, a 2022 Influential Lawyer, is constantly checking the pulse on name, image and likeness (NIL) law in sports.
Among other businesses, Winter has represented collegiate sports clients including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Big 12 Conference, and Conference USA. From the beginning of his legal career, Winter found himself involved in high-profile sports litigation that brought up new NIL issues. At a San Francisco firm, he helped represent the NCAA in the antitrust lawsuit O’Bannon v. NCAA, and later in his career Winter would be involved in a lawsuit dealing with similar questions in NCAA v. Alston.
He’s also been involved in conference realignment matters, concussion matters, and the review and negotiation of broadcast agreements. He also assists governing bodies and universities on NIL issues, including his outside counsel work with Kansas University.
In 2021 alone, Winter was featured in eight articles, including one published in Sports Illustrated where he shared his knowledge of NIL law with the general public. He also shares his findings with other attorneys through the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Law Committee.
He started the KCMBA committee in 2015, and since then it’s grown to at least 30 members. It keeps up to date on law developments that affect amateur, collegiate and professional sports and the entertainment field, and disseminates this information via continuing legal education (CLE) programs and periodic meetings that widen understanding of the practice and encourage new opportunities.
Winter said he is planning more committee opportunities for continuing learning education in 2022, particularly on NIL updates. He’s seeing a growing trend of fan and booster organizations offer NIL contracts to athletes.
Winter’s interest in law began as he wrapped up his college career as an NCAA Division I scholarship basketball player at the College of William & Mary, where he earned an undergraduate degree in history.
Athletes only gained the right to monetize their deals just half a year ago in July 2021. As a result, Winter said that athletes often sign the dotted line without an attorney or even another adult who can explain what’s at stake.
“People are still getting familiar with the rules and how the rules are going to be applied,” Winter said. “So I think it’s going to continue to grow.”
Winter expects more and more schools to sue after an athlete breaches a contract or tries to break out of it.